Genetically Enhanced Athletes Will Soon Compete in the Olympics, Experts Suggest

By Helen Holmes on July 20, 2012

Imagine this. Athletes make use of prosthetic legs that work like real limbs (only that they don’t feel weak like human legs do), skin grafts that increase webbing between fingers and toes to enhance swimming abilities, and the superhuman muscles that don’t sore even after extreme workout. Now, see these people attending the yearly Olympics. If you’re an average athlete, would you still want to join? 

Superhuman Athletes

Being an athlete takes a lot of perseverance, hard work, patience, willpower, and of course – physical prowess. We always think of these people as the fittest and strongest individuals. Who wouldn’t? Some of them could run a hundred miles without feeling weak, others could jump into the water from a high structure and still project an artistic pose as they fall. Sometimes, we wonder – are they still human? Well, it’s possible. Soon, genetically-enhanced superhuman athletes will compete in the Olympics. But then, they would need to have their own event, scientists suggest.

Scientists predict that performance-enhancing technologies will progress to the point that it would allow humans to exceed their limits. There will be additional sports in the Olympics, and these include power swimming, power climbing, and power running, Professor Hugh Herr from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology pointed out. Mechanical prosthetics will triumph over the traditional cheetah-style’ legs used by amputees, he added.

Prof Herr and his team are currently working in a bionic running leg which mimics the biological limb function. Other than this, the superhuman abilities of athletes could be extended to extremes, if only rules and regulations that hinder science from doing it would be lifted, experts suggest. For instance, baseball pitchers who had their elbow ligament replaced claimed that after a two-year recovery from surgery, they are able to throw harder.

Should we allow performance-enhancing drugs in sports?

In 490 BC, the first ever marathon was held upon the arrival of Persian army in Greece. It was fought between the citizens of Athens and the Persian force led by Datis and Artaphernes. Although outnumbered five to one, Athenians triumphed the battle. One of the runners was sent back to Athens to report their victory. He ran 150 miles in just two days. Upon reaching Athens, he screamed ‘we won’ and then dropped down to death due to exhaustion.

Although there are many laws and regulations governing Olympics about the use of performance-enhancing drugs, many athletes don’t come to the event without these. Record shows that the use of these drugs began as early as the third Olympiad, when Thomas Hicks, who had a shot of strychnine while in the middle of the race, won the marathon. In 1928, the International Amateur Athletic Federation banned the use of stimulating drugs.

Endurance and strength are just two of the major requirements to triumph in any kind of hardcore sport such as marathon, cycling, track and field, and so on. But even the strongest person in the world has some weak points which affect performance. For this reason, many are suggesting the use of performance-enhancing drugs, particularly in the most prestigious sporting event in the world – Olympics.

How about you, do you think that performance-enhancing drugs for athletes be allowed? Why or why not?

 

Source of this article:

Why we should allow performance enhancing drugs in sport, British Journal of Sports Medicine

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